Our short Monday slate—just 11 games total—is pretty limited pitching-wise. But, we’ve dug in to find three aces that should be worth keeping an eye on. Check ’em out!
Aces in Isolation
RHP Michael Fulmer (DET) versus Texas LHP Martín Pérez
Fulmer has hit the skids a bit of late, with two of his last three starts resulting in five or more earned runs allowed. That has pushed his season ERA up to 3.59 from 3.06. And, the Tigers have lost each of his last three starts. With strikeouts limited this season for the burly righty—100 in 140.1 innings—he’s turned to grounders, of which he’s induced at least 10 in eight of his last 10 starts. That has his season rate of grounders induced at 49.7 percent. That’s a career-high mark, but not the only place he’s made improvements.
Despite losing about a strikeout per nine, Fulmer has cut almost a half-walk out of his per nine rate, sliced his home run rate by 0.3 and has already exceeded last season’s fWAR total in almost 20 fewer innings. In a tough season in the Motor City, Fulmer has been one of the few bright spots.
LHP José Quintana (CHC) versus Cincinnati RHP Asher Wojciechowski
We’ve been waiting all season for Quintana to turn a corner. Yet, he’s only been decent since switching sides of Chicago five starts ago. He’s got a 4.20 ERA in Cubbie blue, and the team has won just two of his five starts as he’s been victimized by some fairly decent offenses (Milwaukee and Arizona) and one really bad one (San Francisco). Maybe victimized is a strong word, since the only really rough start in that stretch came against the Diamondbacks—six earned, three home runs in five innings—but he has not been exactly sharp all season long, as evidenced by his season ERA of 4.42.
On a more stacked pitching day, we may have overlooked him overall. But he’s still got a strong pedigree and a good offense supporting him. Cincinnati provides as good of a time as any to rebound.
RHP Zack Greinke (ARI) versus Houston RHP Collin McHugh
It’s not terribly surprising, but Greinke is coming off a pair of tougher starts. He gave up six earned runs in as many innings against the Cubs in his penultimate start. Then the Dodgers got to him for three earned runs on four hits in a tough-luck 3-2 loss last time out. All things considered, that’s not a terrible outing against one of the best offenses in the game. But, Greinke simply didn’t measure up to Alex Wood on a night both were fairly good. You don’t have to look hard to find Greinke on NL leaderboards, though. He’s third in WHIP (1.03), fourth in strikeouts (165) sixth in innings (149) and seventh in ERA (3.14). He’s the lead dog on a Diamondbacks rotation that is pretty damn solid.